The crown jewel of Orono’s dining scene, Pat’s Pizza, unfurled plans to rebrand on Friday. The marketing move was a direct response to a scathing Yelp review by a displeased customer. Following a long list of complaints, the customer lodged one final dig at the chain location regarding their ancient gumball machine. The once yellow letters that read “Pat’s Pizza” had faded, leaving a sickly pale “Pa’s Piz” in their place. That’s a feat the customer deemed “an appropriate representation of the restaurant’s decline.” Though they were discouraged at first, the staff decided to embrace the new nickname. It began the store’s millennial makeover. The staff are hoping to meet the college-aged customer base where they’re at. Even if it means pulling out the paint–something the store hasn’t done in the better part of a century. “Those kids in Portland are putting us out of business. We want to show them we can keep up!” manager Sam said.
A major part of the paint job is the development of new menu items. The staff are cooking diligently around the clock. And not in vain. The new pies are West Coast-themed and deemed “hipster worthy” by many customers. A favorite of the trial period was the “Could Be California” pizza. It features imitation-imitation crab meat made from Maine lobster and is topped with Trader Joe’s avocado. One customer called it “a confused ode to the California roll.”
Another winner was the “Orono Oregon-o,” a pizza that comes with a 1-inch-thick layer of Pat’s original dried oregano. It’s the forgotten green spice of pizza parlors everywhere. “We needed to put it somewhere,” Sam said, as he admitted that most tabletop jars had solidified the untouchable herb into cylindrical blocks. “It really is original,” he went on. As it turned out, the grand pat-riarch, Pat Farnsworth, had bottled it himself upon opening the store back in 1931.